Brian Minnis saw on the website that I was looking for past photos of Jim’s grave in an effort to complete the visual history. He reached out to me and kindly offered to scan and share his photos from February 1972. Here’s his story:
American solider Brian “Breeze” Minnis was stationed in Langendamm, Germany for 14 months in the early 70s with the German army at Clausewitz-Kaserne. In February 1972, Brian and a couple of army buddies “jumped on the train and took off across Europe”. He was 20 years old.
“We were in Paris for a visit to the Louvre and Pigalle. We knew Jim was interred there and, being big fans, we had to go to the grave. Thought it would be cool, and we liked him, so we would pay our respects.
I wondered why there wasn’t a better head stone. I thought it was junkie for a man of his means, but with the graffiti, and being 20, I thought it’s Jim, and it’s cool. Right up his alley. We were the only ones there at the time as I recall. His was the only grave of interest to us.
I really don’t remember how I learned about his death, but it had to be from the radio or newspaper. I was a soldier boy then.
I do remember, when we talked to this man at the cemetery, he knew right off the bat who we were looking for, even though we didn’t speak the same language. So that tells me Jim had lots of company then. So the old fellow gave us the paper, situation de sépulture, and off we went.” —Brian “Breeze” Minnis
Brian has been retired for two years and lives in Morrisonville, Illinois. He tries to enjoy every day as much as he can. He hasn’t been back to Paris since, but hopes to come back next spring or summer. And he’s got some great words to live by: “Remember life is short, break some rules”.
Thank you Brian!!